Thursday, December 31, 2009

I have a new TV, and may never leave my lazy boy again

I bought a new TV because my old "tube" TV bit the dust. I couldn't even find a new "tube" TV. They must not make them any more. I decided to go flat and HD. My budget was $300... WAS!!! I was planning on buying a used set off Craigslist, but the more research I did, the more nervous I got about getting a set that wasn't reliable. So I went new. I went to Video Lonely, Best Butt, Rado Sack, even Wal Fart. The best legitimate dealer I found for what I wanted was HDTV Depot in Kent. I found them on Craigslist. They had the model numbers right there on the ad, so I could check out their reviews and compare prices on Amazon. When I went there, the guy even steered me towards a cheaper set. I settled on a Panasonic 32", 720p TV (model: TC-32LX14). What I always forget is that buying any electronics is going to go over budget by no less than 50%. I had to buy cables; I had to upgrade my Charter service; I had to hook it up with my laptop. I'm now $500 deep. But my "everything" looks better. The only thing I don't like is this right here. The screen is a little bit on the green side when hooked up to the laptop. I'll figure it out, but I was hoping it was just a natural fit.

Alright. Back to vegging.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Early Christmas Present To Myself

I was on my way to host the open mic at Laughs in Kirkland, driving 0n the 520 Bridge, when some woman in a piece of shit '90's Volvo cut me off. Then I watched helplessly as the same piece of shit '90's Volvo rode every car's ass that was in front of her until they were forced to get out of her way. It drove me nuts. She wasn't even getting that far ahead because the traffic was so bad. She didn't have to ride other cars' asses. She just wanted to be a douchebag. In fact, by the time we got to the junction of 520 and 405, we were at the same spot.
She was oblivious; riding some guys ass for no reason at all. There was plenty of room for her to pass him. She just wanted to be a douchebag. The 405 exit was about a 1/4 mile ahead, when Santa Clause came early this year.
She was in the far left lane, and I was in the far right exit lane. Of course, this moron wanted to merge three lanes of traffic in a quarter mile. She shot across the two lanes, cutting yet another person off, and was right next to me.
Life is almost always against me. The coin lands on heads five times in a row. It rains on my one day off in two weeks. My section at the restaurant is full of old people and Canadians. Even the world itself spins around trying to sling me into the dark vacuum of outer space. But every once in a while, the coin bounces off an ashtray; or the clouds open up, and the sun comes out; maybe a couple of lawyers who served their way through law school come in to celebrate winning a big case. What I mean is, sometimes, very rarely, I get lucky. This was one of those times.
Douchebag Volvo sped up to pass me; so I sped up. Even my little Civic has better get up than a piece of shit '90's Volvo. So she slowed down to get behind me. I slowed down to box her out. That's right! I boxed her out! I decided that I was going to deliver a little bit of freeway justice for all of us; that this douchebag wasn't going to make this exit. She slowed down to 35 mph in a 60 mph zone trying to get behind me, but I stayed right with her. It didn't take much, because the douchebag hadn't given herself much time to get over in the first place. I boxed her out like a professional, and she missed the exit. She waled on her horn and flipped me off; and I just stared blankly back at her, as if I didn't know what was going on. I watched her screaming at me through her window, as she faded away in a beautifully sloping diagonal.
I felt vindicated. I felt righteous, like only the most inbred, brainwashed religious nuts can feel. I felt satisfied for one sparkling instant during this miserable and hopeless existence.
Judge me any way you want. Give me some excuse for her: that she was late for work; that she didn't know any better; hat she was on her way to visit sick orphans. I don't care. She was a selfish douchebag, and she got what she had coming to her, thanks to me.
You are welcome.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quit Making Out In Comedy Shows

I'm so sick and tired of couples making out in middle of a comedy show. It's incredibly disrespectful; and it happens all the time. I don't understand how some guy telling dick jokes in a dark and dirty room, is such an aphrodisiac. It only shows how desperate and co-dependant two people are. First of all, it's often a couple sitting in the first couple of rows, or in the back of the room. The couple sitting up front want everyone to see how in love they are to deflect from two things: that the man keeps trying to look down the waitresses blouse; and the woman keeps laughing a little too hard at the comic's jokes. He keeps his arm around her, and kisses her every time she laughs at a joke, that way every other guy in the room doesn't get confused and think she's alone. She holds his hand because the second she lets go, he's going to try to fuck the woman sitting two rows behind them. And if I confront them about their public displays of affliction, they always get embarrassed and suprised that anyone was watching them. No one cares about you and your woman; and no one else wants to fuck either of you. So get over yourselves for a second and enjoy a show that you paid good money for.

The other couple always sits in the back of the room, as far away from the stage as they can get without leaving the room. These two take turns sitting in each others' laps and telling each other how wonderful they are. She tells him how much funnier he is than the comic on stage, and he tells her that he would never make fun of her like the comic on stage is making fun of his girlfriend. These two can't be bothered with the show at all, and are annoyed at how loud it is. So they have to talk louder and louder themselves, that way they can hear each other. These two are cheating on other people with each other. That is why they are hiding in a dark and dirty comedy showroom instead of at a romantic Italian restaurant. This couple when confronted for bother the people around them will get defensive and belligerant. The will want to know why I am bothering them. "Just tell your jokes. We're not stopping you. You're not even that funny."

These are the same people that make out and talk during an action-comedy movie. Neither couple should be allowed to continue the behavior. They should be warned once, then sprayed with the garden hose and sent out into the dark, frozen night.

I tell you all this to premise a story that happened recently at Giggles' open mic. Here it is:

I was sitting in the back of the room at Gigles waiting to go up. I was next. Andrew Sleighter was on stage, and doing very well with some newer jokes (that I helped him work out that day). A couple came into the showroom and sat right behind me. Then they immediately started talking, kissing, and climbing all over each other. They were instantly distracting. In a matter of seconds, I was ready to murder the both of them. It wasn't even that I could hear their voices over Andrew's. What set me off, was that thirty seconds into their face suck-off party, Sleighter told a joke the crowd liked and got a big laugh; and the girl said "That's not even funny." She hadn't been listening to a word he was saying, heard a punchline out of context, saw that it was well-received, and felt the need to make a shitty, bitchy comment about it.

I was going to politely ask them to keep it down, since I didn't want to cause a scene right before I went up, but decided after her comment to flash the flashlight in their faces instead. I gave them a light, just like you give a comic to let them know it is time to wrap it up, except I was three feet away from them. It took a second for them to realize what I just did, then the guy asked out loud "Did that guy just shine a flashlight at us? Maybe we should quiet down." That lasted all of fifteen seconds, until the girl started stroking his hair and kissing him, and TALKING again. This time I did say something. "Do you guys mind taking it out to the bar where you're not going to bother the people around you?" They got instantly defensive. "What? We're not even talking that loud." So I asked them "Why would you pay to get into a comedy show you don't want to watch, and sit in the back of the room to make out? Go suck face somewhere else."

That was when Sleighter said "That's my time everyone. Your next comic is Mike Cummings."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Level

Since the SICC, I've hit some sort of growth spurt. I was doing the same seven minutes for two months straight, and three shows into the contest, I realized it wasn't working. I was so stiff. I wasn't trying to have a good time; I was trying not to fuck up. That's not what I want. I want to have fun on stage.

On the fourth night of the contest, Nick Sun from Australia had a "snap set". That is where a comic loses it on stage somehow. Usually, it means they go apeshit on the crowd. For Nick, it was going really long, and making fun of the other comics in the contest. I thought it was so hilarious. There were several of us in the green room listening to Nick on the p.a. system. While he was up there, some of the comics were bitching and complaining about how unprofessional and selfish and disrespectful it was of him to do it. A couple of people, who I don't fucking like anyway, were shitting all over it. At the same time, Nick was killing. The crowd loved it. He did twice the time allowed, and got disqualified for the night. At the end of his set, he asked the crowd to "Boo" him off stage. They did, and it was awesome. Then the host gave him his outro, and the audience cheered him for an encore point; and when he came back to receive it, they booed him again.
It was great to see the participation between the audience and Nick, and it inspired me. So I decided to change a couple of jokes to what I thought is funny, instead of what I thought they would like. I went out there and had fun; and it worked. I had a better score that night. On the next night, I did the same thing: I went out to have a good time. I even shit on the junior college we were at, and made fun of them for being too stupid to get into a real college. It went great. It turned out to be the only night I placed. And even though I didn't finish well in the contest, I feel totally satisfied. I have a lot of respect for several of the comics in my week. Some, I have little or none. That doesn't matter. I'd rather lose in ever contest against them and stay true to myself.
Since the contest, I've been trying to get away from having rigid, structured sets. I've been fucking around a lot on stage. Guess what. It's working. I was able to feature two weeks ago at the Underground because of a late cancellation. I had four really fun sets, including a show in front of my parents, my sister, and my sister's boyfriend. All of the shows were good, and the late show on Saturday turned out to be the best set I've had in maybe a year. I was so relaxed and loose. Just being lucky, I happened to tape that show (the only show I taped all week). I turned it into my new promo video.
This last weekend, I got to co-headline Laughs with Andrew Sleighter. Four more terrific shows. And this time, I spent half the set each show yelling at the audience and bitching about all the things I hate about waiting tables and being stuck in traffic. It was a blast, and the crowd really liked it. I'm telling you; I'm really on to something.
Well, I hate not writing for a while, because I end up doing mini novels on here. I'll work on being a little more consistent. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Seattle International Comedy Competition

I've been a little busy this last couple of weeks. I was participating in the SICC. I say "participating" because that's what it felt like. I finished 9th out of 16. The first three shows were miserable. I was so worried about screwing up, that I didn't have any fun. The last three shows were great, too little too late. I didn't look at the scores for any of the nights until it was all over. When I did, I found that my scores were very inconsistent. One judge would give me his highest score, while another judge in the same show would give me his lowest score. I actually took a lot of encouragement from that. I don't want everyone to like me. I don't like most people. I want my comedy to reflect my personal life. There are plenty of people in my life that don't like me; but the won't forget me. It should be the same when I'm on stage.

Friday, November 13, 2009

i'm breaking down

i'm in a comedy contest this week, and i'm not having fun. i'm avoiding my scores all week; so i only know i haven't been in the top five yet. it's getting to me. i'm reevaluating my whole set, and considering going to the awkward personal route for tonight. i want to be committed to my set like i promised myself, but i'm not enjoying myself on stage. it's worse than usual. i'll let you know what i decide and how it worked out.

this is my new bitch site

i got into another FB fight with a booker. i talked to Sleighter (Andrew) about it, and he told me i should stop posting so much on FB. so i've decided to use this blog as my super negative bitch site. i like to write my rants out, edit them, and read them over and over again. something about looking at them on paper (or screen), makes them beautiful to me. there is a poetry in the way i complain, but only when i write my complaints down. there is a symmetry to them.
i'd bitch right now, but i'm tired. so i'll be back soon

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don Rickles

i went to see Don Rickles at the Snoqualmie Casino last night. my ticket was free, and yet i had a great seat in the second row of the center section, right in front of Don. he was amazing. he had a small orchestra accompaniment. the band leader was a wrinkled old guy, who played the perfect heel. Don just shit all over him, and he took it over and over with a stone face. Don kept dropping his microphone on the ground, then he would give the band leader some kind of condescending gesture or just yell "hey you!", then this poor old man would come waddling around from behind his piano and pick up the microphone to hand back to Don. it was so cute.

the show was great. he had a mix of songs and harassing the audience. then he pulled me out of the audience to come on stage with him and make fun of me. i was terrified. he made fun of my clothes and how fat i am and being Irish. he asked me what i do for a living, and i told him i'm a waiter. one of my favorite local headliners was in the audience, Duane Goad, and i heard him laugh out loud when i said it. Don asked me what i aspire to be, and i told him a comic. i've never been so ashamed of being a comic before. standing with a legend like him makes me feel like a fraud. but he was very sweet to me, and even whispered some encouragement to me. then he hugged me. it was part of the bit, but it felt very genuine. he held me for a very long time; so i honestly started hugging him. for a laugh, i slid my hands down his back almost to his ass, and started rocking side to side. i could hear the band guys laughing. it was great. he brought another guy on stage, and we did some old bit of his where we played Japanese Kamikaze fighter pilots. it was a lot of fun. he even dropped the microphone and made me pick it up for him. i didn't want to leave the stage. i just wanted to follow him around for the rest of the night.

he sent me a bottle of champagne, which i will keep for a long time. it's just cheap champagne, but it has a sticker of his face on the bottle, and a great story to go with it. what a great experience.

i wanted so much to go ask him to sign the bottle after the show, but the guy is 83 years old, and it was 930pm; plus i'm sure he's got a million people bothering him after every show. so i left it alone. he said he's coming back to Seattle. so maybe i'll get that chance.

Don Rickles is a sweet, charming, classy man, and a legend. just to see him live, and in the great seats we had, was more than i could ask for. but to get to meet him like that, and be on stage with him; i hope it's one of those ironic moments in my life: he got pulled on stage by Don Rickles, then he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition. something like that. i hope i can put it in my book in ten years, when i write about how i became a famous comedian.

i only got one picture out of it, and it's not very good, but i'm posting it with this blog anyway. so.. for you to enjoy: ...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

moving in, and Hooters

i am all unpacked in the new place. i love it. i've cooked myself dinner three times already. there are a couple of things: a noisy fridge, and a noisy water heater. but those sounds are rhythmic. i'll get used to them quick. here are a couple of pictures of the new place.

last night, i did a show at a Hooters Casino. it was fun, but it was a slow start. there was some fat piece of shit sitting in the front with his back to me. then he pretended he wanted to be left alone. i'm still pissed about it now. a four year old kid acts like that. i called him fat and ugly, then i refocused, and the rest of my act went fine. i need to learn how not to let those kinds of pricks get to me. there is no reason why one asshole should be allowed to ruin a show for other people who are glad to be there. i'm actually cheating them out of what they want, and giving him exactly what he wants.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I moved

i'll have nore on this topic soon. i just wanted to write something, since it's been a while.

Monday, October 19, 2009

moving sucks

i'm moving into a very nice apartment underneath my parents. my rent is going up some, but i'm happy about everything except moving all my shit again. i'm almost willing to give everything away, just so i don't have to pack any of it. every time i move, i make my life a little smaller, and a little more mobile. my goal is to one day be able to pack my whole life into my car and one of those mini trailers. then i'll go live wherever you want me to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

If you're paying for lunch, you're also obligated to tip appropriately

It happens all the time: three people will be at a table for lunch; the check comes; and all three of them start arguing over who is going to pay. They don't argue who HAS to pay; they argue who GETS to pay. You're probably thinking that would be better for me the server, because then I can assume they're all generous; you're wrong. When everyone fights over the check, the winner feels extremely self righteous and magnanimous. Why should they then have to prove their generosity further by tipping the server? It never fails. In fact, the bigger deal that is made over who gets to pay, the shittier my tip tends to be. The only time it ever works out for me, is the silent gesture: The person nods to me, points to them self, and gives me the "check" sign. Those people always tip well, because they are honestly generous, and not doing it for show.
I would rather people fought over the check because no one wanted to pay. If no one wants to pay, then often times, whoever gets stuck with the check will over-tip so that they can feel more like a martyr. They need that extra 20-25% stacked onto the total so they can hold it over every one's head later. "That lunch cost me $75." "What?! The check was only $60." "Well, I had to leave a tip too, didn't I?" Now they are the generous one, and their friends are the cheap pieces of shit.
If you pick up a check, you are obligated to tip as well as best tipper at the table. If THEY had won the fight, that's how much they would have tipped. So that's how much YOU have to tip. It shouldn't ever cost the server money because the wrong person paid the check. That drives me crazy.
I don't even know why I'm ranting about this. You should tip 20% anyway. It shouldn't matter how you ended up with the check, or even if you wanted the check in the first place. Those are the risks you take when you hang out with losers: sometimes they don't have the money. You still have to fulfill your obligation to your server. Don't blame him because you have deadbeat friends.
And sign the fucking slip already!!! Why is it that the last table of my shift always sits there for 45 minutes with an unsigned credit slip? You don't want any more food; you don't want any more drinks; you don't even want any more water; so sign the slip. There is nothing else for me to do. You don't require any further service from me. So you can't still be deciding how much to tip me. You're just sitting there, ignoring the slip, because you're an inconsiderate and selfish person. You must think I have all day long to just sit around, waiting for you to sign the credit card slip, with your shitty 10% tip (that's another one I've learned: the longer it takes for someone to sign their slip, the shittier my tip tends to get). Signing the slip doesn't mean you have to leave. It just lets me, your server, focus on whatever "side-work" I have to take care of. You'll prove yourself to be not only magnanimous, but a considerate "champion" of the working class.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the mountain bike trail

I was camping deep in the Wenatchee National Forest. A ranger told me about a bike trail that leads to a lake. He said it was a popular trail, about 3 miles long. He gave me directions and showed me the trail on a map, which he also gave me. I noticed a green dot on the trail. I looked at the key at the bottom of the map, and the green dot was labeled "easiest". He confirmed it for me. He was very helpful. Since he gave me directions, I left the map in my car.

I started the trail at 9:30 a.m., and it was pretty easy heading into the woods. But once the trail hit the woods, it got tougher. Next thing I know, I'm carrying my bike up a mountain. The path got so narrow, that I couldn't even walk the bike next to me half the time. The trail looked like it hadn't seen a person in years. The only tracks I saw were either the biggest dog prints I've ever seen, or cougars'. I kept stopping and listening for cougars and bears, planning my defense. I thought the ranger had sent me up here as a joke. But I remember the map said "easiest". At 11:00 a.m. I started thinking about quitting. If this trail was three miles long, then I was climbing at less than two miles an hour at this point with no end in sight. That couldn't be right. But I kept stopping, so it was possible. I kept stopping to listen for cougars and bears and now psychotic, rapist park rangers, because this was no joke. That ranger sent me up here so his other psychotic, rapist park ranger buddies could pull a "Deliverance" party on me. Then I started thinking about the map again…"easiest", not "easy", just "easiest". What if this is what they considered easiest? Then if I quit, I'm a pussy. So I gave up all thought of turning around and going back, even when I started passing snow. Let me make that clear: SNOW! It was in the middle of July. How high was I climbing?

At 12:00 p.m. I abandon my bike for a stick because I know cougars are afraid of sticks. As far as I know, cougars aren't afraid of bikes. Besides, there were now fallen trees lying across the almost invisible trail. The trail would disappear, and then reappear ten or twenty yards away. I was becoming really frightened. I was alone out there on a god-forsaken trail that had been neglected for who knows how long, and probably because too many people got eaten by cougars trying to find this lake. But I couldn't stop, and for two reasons: "easiest" and "lake." I was going to reach that lake or die a horrible bloody death trying.

At 12:30 p.m. the trail started going downhill. At first, I just thought I was in a little valley on the trail or something. But the trail kept going downhill. Then I really got scared. I must have lost the trail somewhere, and now I'm on some cougar's driveway leading me straight to his house. I went on for another five minutes before the visions of my shredded corpse overwhelmed me and I turned back. Fuck "easiest", and fuck "lake"! I was getting out of there.
I climbed back up the trail, and eventually down the other side. I was so afraid that I was being stalked by a cougar, that I was stopping ever hundred feet or so to listen. Every rustle was a cougar, every crack of a twig. I was sure I was going to die on this mountain alone. And it would be a week before anyone knew I was missing, and months before they found what was left of my body.
I was descending the trail as fast as I could. But I kept losing it, and I'd have to find it again. I was exhausted. I started worrying about my bike. Had I missed it somehow? Everything looked the same. The trees all looked the same. The rocks all looked the same. I started thinking "why did I put the bike where it would be on my lazy-eye side? I probably walked right past it." I checked my watch and decided that if I didn't run across my bike in the next ten minutes, I was going back up the trail (I might have cried a little bit at that thought. It was probably sweat in my eyes, but it might also have been tears). I found my bike five minutes later.
I didn't realize how steep the trail was until I stared riding my bike back down. I was flying. I was riding both brakes with white knuckles, and I was still flying. I couldn't always stop the bike completely. When I would get to a tree in the path, or a ditch, a couple of times I had to slow the bike down as much as I could then jump off. A few times I didn't have to jump off. I must have wiped out five or six times not counting the bail-outs. I was afraid my brakes would wear out completely and I was going to fly off the side of the mountain on one of the dozen "switch-backs". But I didn't. I came flying off that mountain like it was on fire. Like something were chasing me; which I half believed. There were a couple of spots I should have carried the bike that I didn't because I was so paranoid that I would be mauled by a cougar the moment I stopped and rested. I knew it wasn't a bear, because I was flying downhill and bears don't run downhill. I came shooting out of those woods like a kid out the bottom of a water slide. I'd never been so happy to see my car in my life. I lied in the freezing river for five minutes probably, until I couldn't feel my toes any more. Ten minutes later, I was the hell out of there. And whom did I run into on my way out of the parking lot? That's right: my friendly park ranger. I told him about my little adventure, and that his gang bang buddies must have missed me somehow. Before I could finish, he told me I took the wrong trail. I was on the wrong side of the campgrounds. I looked at the map, and sure enough there were two trails leading out of that campground. One to a lake that was three miles long marked with the level "easiest", and one that was five miles long that connected with another trail on the other side of the mountain, and no lake, marked "most difficult".
If I had any energy left in my body, I would have gone back to see what "easiest" really meant. I would have murdered the park ranger for not warning me or posting any signs, then I would have gone up the "easiest" trail. Who puts two trails that are so different so close together and then doesn't mark them with a sign? That's like putting the "Bunny Hill" right next to the "Kamikaze Dive" and not marking them with so much as a couple of wooden arrows. Some one's going to get killed. I'm sure it would be hilarious, but it could have been me, and that is NOT hilarious. I should write them a letter.

camping with Mike

When I go camping, all I can think about is "I wanna see a bear." I guess it's because I've never seen a bear in the wild. So I go as deep into the mountains I can get. I set up my camp on the outside of campgrounds, away from people. I cook some hot dogs and burgers (bear favorites). Then I wait. I wait all evening, and nothing. But then, at night, after the fire has gone out, and I am alone, I get terrified that I might actually see a bear. I sit awake in my flimsy tent, clutching my cheap, plastic flashlight for protection. Every noise I hear all night long is a bear or a cougar waiting to kill me.

The truth is I want to see a bear while I'm driving. If I saw a bear on the road, I could stop and take a picture or two. If he came at me, I could just drive away. If I ever saw a bear or a cougar at my campsite, I'd shit my pants and scream like a three-year-old screams at her birthday clown. I'd never go into the woods again.

Whenever I hear a story about someone being eaten by a cougar, or getting lost and dying in the woods, I say, "That'll never happen to me." But the truth is I'm exactly the kind of moron that it will happen to. I go camping under the most under-prepared and dangerous circumstances. I remember my ipod, and forget a lighter or matches to light a fire. I throw a flashlight in the trunk, and never bother to check the batteries. I bring a disposable razor, but no pocketknife. I remember my favorite pillow, but not my sleeping bag and blankets.

When I go hiking it's even worse. I ignore all safety precautions:
1. Always hike in a group--all alone, check;
2. Always carry your food in a sealed container--I hope they don't mean this Big Mac I brought in my backpack, check;

3. Carry a map at all times--I'm a man. I don't need a map. I just follow the trail, check;

4. Always let someone know where you are and how long you'll be gone--called in sick for work to start my camping weekend two days early, and I told my girlfriend I'm spending the weekend with my parents, check.

At least I don't have to worry about wild animals when I'm hiking. I never worry about being attacked by a wild animal because I always carry a stick with me. Cougars are afraid of sticks. Plus I have a keen sense of hearing, and I can hear cougars sneaking up on me. Because if they see my stick, they know their only chance is to sneak up on me. So I walk really quietly, and keep the volume on my ipod really low, well, kind of low. It depends on what music I'm listening to at the time. Bears are even easier. All you have to do is run downhill. Bears can't run as fast downhill as they can uphill. So if a bear attacks you, just run downhill. He'll give up and go eat something else. The people who get eaten on trails are always found without a stick, and facing uphill. They're stupid.

Me and Mikey in Hawaii

When I was just out of high school, I moved to the Oahu island of Hawaii. For almost two years, I lived and worked in Waikiki, where most of the tourist activity is. I had a job taking pictures of people with trained parrots. The catch was that it wasn't in some studio. I had to cruise the streets and work my magical sales techniques on unsuspecting tourists. It was the most difficult job I've ever had.

There were countless obstacles standing between me and every sale. The first of them was the street. Every hotel and business I tried to sell in front of would chase me off, or worse, call the cops. They hated guys like me, and for good reason: I was a hustler. So I was constantly moving. Next, I had to deal with "Dad". Every father, husband, and boyfriend knew I was a con artist. If they saw me coming, they did everything they could to get in my way. So I constantly had to sneak up on people, and go straight after the kids, wife, or girlfriend to avoid confrontation with "Dad". The exception was newlyweds. All newlyweds are suckers for souvenir photos on their honeymoon. If you ask me, every man and woman stupid enough to be conned into marriage in the first place deserves to get taken for a ride. Then, of course, I had to deal with the birds. Those birds were a handful. They were trained, but it hardly mattered. If they didn't want to cooperate, there was nothing I could do about it. Plus, they shit all over everything. They would shit on me, on the customers, even on the camera. Take it from me; no one wants a picture with a bird once that bird shits on him.

All the stars had to be aligned just right for me to make a dime. The key to the whole scam was getting people to stop and play with the birds. Because once I had a little kid holding one of those adorable animals, "Dad" was in my world. So there were tricks I learned, gimmicks to get their attention and get them interested.

One of my favorite tricks involved my favorite bird to work with: Mikey. Mikey was an Eclectic Parrot. They are a small, bright green bird with an orange beak the same color of candy corn. He was gorgeous and well trained. I would lock his feet together and juggle him back and forth in my hands like a ball. The kids loved it. The gag was this: I'd juggle Mikey to get their attention; then I would toss him at someone in the group. They'd flinch and try to catch him, but he would open up and fly back to me before they could reach him. Everybody loved that gag. Mikey and I belonged in a circus.

Once, there were two beautiful young girls strolling down the cobbled sidewalk in my direction. They were the spoiled rich girl types: long hair, long legs, and looking a long way down their noses at a street hustler like me. I usually only wasted my time on girls if I was trying to get laid. And I certainly wouldn't waste time on girls I knew were out of my league, because god forbid a rich honeymoon couple wondered by and I lost the opportunity for a legitimate sale. The day was pretty slow. I was just hanging out tossing Mikey around. I was bored, so I decided to pull the old "catch my bird" gag. So I said "heads up ladies." and tossed him at one of them.

Two things happened simultaneously: one, Mike didn't open up and fly back to me; and two, the girl wasn't paying attention and didn't hear me say "heads up." So Mikey hit her. He bounced right off her bikini-covered, probably surgically augmented boob, and hit the ground like a ripe mango.

Boing! Splat!

I must have juggled him dizzy, because he never knew what happened. He bounced off the girl, hit the ground, and laid there in a ball like a discarded burrito. I was in shock.

I wasn't concerned about the girls at this point. I immediately picked up Mikey and started talking to him like a trauma patient. "Mikey, are you okay? Mikey, can you hear me? Mikey, what the hell is wrong with you? You made me look like an asshole." He was fine, a little dazed, but fine.

The girl, however, was traumatized! It took her a second to realize that I had just bounced a bird off her tit. When she did, she looked at me like I was some kind of monster. I know that was the look because a moment later she hissed "What are you, some kind of monster? What kind of sicko throws a bird at someone?" She went on and on about cruelty to animals and calling the police. I was pretty scared.

I tried to explain to the girls that it was supposed to be a joke. That he just got dizzy and lost his equilibrium. They didn't get it. They just thought I was some freak who threw birds at people for fun. So I gave up. Mikey and I slinked away in shame. I made sure that we took side streets and alleyways back to the shop, just in case.

Usually I have a happy ending for a story in case someone decides to make it into a movie. Today, I only have a lesson to be learned. Take it from me fellas: if you want to get cute girls to talk to you, skip the exotic animals, and get a puppy.

how to get fired from Applebee's, and end up a hero

I'm Only Human

I have waited tables for 10 years between Denny's, Applebee's, and part time bartending jobs. Never, in those 10 years, have I done anything to anyone's food. Don't get me wrong. I believe that lousy guests should be punished...and severely! But how is spitting in someone's hamburger punishing them? They never know what you've done to them. So it's not a real consequence. I am not going to risk my job for some asshole that isn't even going to know what I've done to him. Besides, I have way too much respect for food. It's not the foods fault. Food doesn't know who's eating it.

I have a story, though, that you might enjoy...

I had been working at Applebee's for just a couple of months. This was a night from hell. You know what I'm talking about: short-staffed, crazy-busy night. I had a table of two couples in their fifties. One couple was very respectful and polite. The other couple was rude and obnoxious. They ran me in circles, and showed no concern for the fact that there were 40 other people in my section who had just as much right to my attention and service as they had. At one point, the wife told me to my face that she was taking her wine glass home as a souvenir. When I told her we didn't sell them, she replied that she "just spent $50 in this dump (it was actually $35 because they didn't want anything that wasn't on the Happy-Hour list), and I'll take this glass home if I want to." So when she wasn't looking, I took the glass off the table. When she noticed it was gone, she demanded I tell her what I did with it. I tried to make light of the situation, and told her I "took the temptation away". She responded that she was "taking your tip away".
I decided that if they didn't tip me, I wasn't going to take it lying down. They stiffed me like I knew that they would. So I reacted in what I believe was a justifiable response. I followed them, at a safe distance, out to their car. By the time I got there they were strapped in and backing out of their parking spot. I knocked on the passenger-side window. The woman turned to look at me with disdain on her face, then lowered the window. With the most condescending tone, she asked me "What the hell do you want?!"

I remember what happened next as if I had seen it in a movie rather than experienced it for myself. It was like I had separated from my body and I was watching the event from above. Time slowed to a crawl, as if out of respect for such a dramatic moment. I saw myself slowly reach into my apron. Her eyes caught my hand, and her look changed from smug superiority to fear, as she realized that retribution was at hand.

…Before I finish the story, it is important that you know she had it coming. Because what happened next is, in the restaurant world, the equivalent of capitol murder. I cannot stress enough that the circumstances were extreme; that my actions were coerced. I will now continue…

Her face went from the color of pink, compact clay to ghostly white. Her eyes bulged out of her oversized head. Her haphazardly plucked and sloppily re-stenciled eyebrows disappeared into the wrinkles of her giant forehead. I pulled my hand out of my apron with a crisp and clean dollar bill face up in my palm. I raised the sad little picture of George Washington to her eye level, and paused for just a moment to give homage to all the great food servers in history. Then I crumpled the bill in her face and tossed it in her lap like a filthy tissue I had just blown my nose in. She flinched, and cringed away from the wad lying on her fat thigh as if it were a dead animal. For what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only a second or two, she stared at the dollar with her eyes wide and her breath caught in her throat, waiting for it to explode or bite her. Then she turned her giant head, with her blue perm, and looked at me one last time. She no longer had her smug little smile. She was frightened. Because she knew what she had done to deserve this. And before she could cry out in agony and terror, I said to her...
"Since you're too cheap to tip or buy wine glasses for yourself, take this dollar over to Wal-Mart and buy a wine glass on me."

She looked back down at the dollar bill, really seeing it for the first time crinkled in her now sweaty lap as if on a dirty strip club stage. She brushed it off like a cockroach onto the floor. She cried. She put her head in her hands, and she wept in shame. She mumbled something under her breath to her husband, who was unaware of what had just transpired. When he didn't respond, she hissed at him "GO!" He slowly backed out of the parking spot and drove away. I watched her cry all the way out of the parking lot. She never lifted her head, and I never saw them again. I knew the second I turned back to the restaurant that I had just thrown my job in that ugly cow's lap. And it was worth it. The next morning I was fired.

I thought that was the end of this story, and my career at Applebee's. It was not. Within 12 hours, my picture and my story was on the bulletin board of 1500 Applebee's restaurants around the world. A petition circulated through the company to save my job. And in only two days, the corporate home office in Cleveland received 853 faxes with more than 10,600 signatures. I was out pounding the pavement for a new gig when I received a phone call from the president of Applebee's himself (which he told me he would deny if ever pressed by the media). After proving who he was by reciting the Applebee's motto: "QSCVC… Quality, Service, Commitment, Value,", he thanked me for my heroism and self-sacrifice. He then begged me to come back to work (after a two-week paid vacation of course). My story was even added to the training materials for the entire company. The management, for obvious reasons of liability, told me it was to caution against such behavior. I found out later that it was to give new staff hope.

I stayed with Applebee's for more than seven years, and even became a corporate trainer, opening five different new restaurants, and training hundreds of servers. I have a file six inches thick. I have done everything from unknowingly insult an autistic child, to calling a woman a man (and she wasn't even a lesbian). My job will always be available, however, and I could transfer to any store in the company, because of one cold and lonely night, when I chose self respect over self preservation and did something waiters and waitresses have wanted to do for 500 years.
Please...don't look at me as more than just a man who acted extraordinarily in extreme circumstances. It's true that most would never have the courage to do what I did, and I may be a hero; but I only tell this story so that someday, when you're faced with a horrible situation like that, you can look back to the day you read my incredible tale and say "yes... I could follow this stupid bitch outside and throw a crumpled dollar in her fat face."

How to get $$$ from me if you're homeless

there is a Subway sandwich shop five blocks from my place. the only problem is that there is a bus stop right in front, and an abandoned building one block away. so, because of the public restroom inside, it's a favorite hangout for homeless. i can't go in there without at least one bum asking me for change.

i was on my way to feature for Rich Vos at Laughs in Kirkland. i was starved. i had just enough time to stop and grab a sandwich on my way. i didn't even have time to eat it there. i was just going to bring it with me to the club.

when i got out of my car, i saw this young homeless kid walking towards me. i knew he was going to ask me for change. i was planning on just waving him off and saying "sorry" before he had a chance. but he started talking when he was still fifteen feet away from me. he said "no one will listen to me." to which, i said "i'm not going to listen to you either."; and walked past him towards the door.

after i passed him, he yelled "you motherfucker! i'm gonna..."; and over my shoulder, i heard him running toward me. i turned around just before he got to me. he was right in my face. i said "don't you ever fucking run up on me like that (as if he knew me). i'll fucking kill you!" that's when he said the line that made me feel so grateful and like such an asshole: "i'm sorry man. i'm so fucking hungry it's driving me crazy; and no one will stop to even listen to me." i could see in his eyes; he meant it. i felt so bad for being such a dismissive prick, that i bought the kid a footlong, soda, and chips.

he said he wasn't on drugs; that he was from Bellingham, and got stranded trying to find work in Seattle. he said he needed to get back to Bellingham, and a bus ticket was only $18. i felt really bad; but guilt doesn't make me stupid. i wasn't going to give him any money' especially considering one of the three bags he was carrying was full of obviously stolen action figures (???). i also didn't have time to take him to Greyhound and put him on a bus. i told him i could do it the next morning. i gave him my card, and told him if he didn't get on a bus that night, to call me (he had a cel phone, of course. what bum doesn't?), and i'd get him a ticket home. that's when he started giving me attitude again: "what does it matter if you take me there or not? i'm not buying drugs. don't you trust me?" i told him i didn't trust him, and that if he was serious, he could survive one more night, and i'd get him on a bus first thing in the morning. he never called.

i felt really bad for the kid. he must have been pretty hungry, because he was half my size, and looked like he was going to kill me for a second there. i totally believe he was just some crack head trying to scam me. i don't care. i fed him. i offered him an opportunity to get home. it doesn't change my attitude about homeless. i'm still going to tell the next guy to get lost. but if he attacks me, i'll buy him a sandwich.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

new job

i just can't sustain myself with the hours i'm getting at Palomino. it's time to look for something else. i'm going to Earl's in Bellevue, and checking that place out. i hate looking for a job. i remember the old days, when i didn't care about shit like that. i'd love to get out of the service industry.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

already missed a day!

i've had this blog for less than a week, and i've already missed a day. my laziness has no limits. even right now, i'm sitting here trying to write a blog post, but i can't turn off the TV.

(30 minutes later) there; i've turned it off. i'm really hoping that this weekend, i put together some solid sets, and that i can edit a good promo video out of it. i have no idea how big or small the crowds will be. Rich Vos is not popular out here in the NW, as far as i know. i'm hoping he'll draw enough people to make it fun.

i've got nothing else

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 2

i had a fantastic time last night at the show in Kingston. i felt connected to an audience that i had almost nothing in common with. i felt in command and focused, so focused that i lost track of time and was surprised when my alarm went off. it's time i got my shit together in the networking department. i've been so afraid that i'm not ready for the next step, that i've been dragging my feet. i'm ready. hopefully, tomorrow, i'll be writing about my new promo video.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Introduction To My Blog

this, hopefully, is where i will find an idea for a book. i'm going to do a lot of bitching, whining, complaining, and judging here; but i'm also going to write about good stuff. unfortunately, the bitching, whining, complaining, and judging, are going to far outweigh the good stuff. that's just the way my attitude is.

i think that i could write a really informative book about food service: how to be a good server; how to be a good guest; how to impress dates at a restaurant; reflections of restaurant behavior on your personality; etc. the problem is no one would probably read it. how many people out there even care how they're supposed to act in a restaurant? not enough, if you ask me.

i also think i could write a really interesting book about my life. everyone is different, and i believe that most people have an interesting life story. i take for granted that i've had such a full life so far. i've lived in some interesting places, had an interesting family experience, had an interesting sex life (interesting to me, anyway), and had an interesting drug and recovery experience. all of that is very "interesting", but again, who cares but me? what do i have to say that is so different from other people? what perspective do i offer that others don't?

so i have decided to start a blog. i want to write more often, and have a place where i can find it easily. i don't think anyone other than me will be reading these, except when i title them "dirty sex". it's for me. more of a journal than a blog. the goal is to spend 15 minutes a day (for now) writing. i have done that now, and i don't want to go overboard today, or i'll burn out already.

that must have something to do with my (self-diagnosed) OCD. i always go full throttle with something new, and then just lose interest. the only thing i haven't gotten bored with yet is comedy. that's what makes me believe i've chosen the correct path. i am as excited today about comedy as i was the first time i went to an open mic. in fact, i'm more excited. but everything else seems to fall through my fingers once i get hold of it. for example, i joined a gym a year ago, went for two weeks, then forgot about it. now, two months ago, i decided to go back to the gym. so i paid $100 to renew my membership. i've gone once. now i just want to cancel it again. what about rollerblading? i bought a $200 pair of rollerblades five years ago, wore them once, then buried them in a box with my old football gear. last year, i pulled them out, started going to Greenlake a couple of times a week, then just quit again right when i was starting to feel comfortable on them. the list goes on and on. so i want to do this blog/journal right. in fact, i'm going to stop here, before i get too long winded and decide it's too much. see you tomorrow. (?)